From my previous posts, you will see that this is not something I have ever done before. But having travelled extensively, I think that when you receive exceptional service from a truly honest person, then this should be rewarded and other travellers should also have the benefit of sharing our experiences.
We would like to recommend a tuk tuk driver that we used for our last 3 days in Siem Reap. We actually had another driver for the first 2 days, whom we arranged over the internet, but he was just so, so. On our second day, at 2.00pm he said we had seen everything and he would take us back to the hotel. We said we thought we had him all day until sunset. But he said “Nothing else to see today, we go back now”. So that was a waste of our pass and an afternoon.
The driver we would ask you to consider is Seng Seila (but he is known as Seila pronounced Cilla). His English is good and he is always happy, punctual and cheerful. However we must say that his spoken English is better than his written English. His motorbike is new and his tuk tuk carries two people in comfort, but he can get a 4 person one if needed. He also has the use of a car, which we used for one long day trip, which I will detail below.
Now I know there are hundreds of drivers in Siem Reap all vying for your business and your hotel will most probably try and get you to use their driver. But this chap is one of the most honest and genuine people we have ever met on our travels. His rates are exceptional, if not a little too cheap. We never had to barter, as his rates were always very good. He doesn’t charge any extra for sunrise and he doesn’t charge any extra if you wish to return back to your hotel for breakfast or for a rest etc. The rates on his website are just advisory and he will discount if you use him for a few days. You don’t even have to ask for the discount.
As a guide to his prices I will tell you what he charged us.
For a sunrise at Angkor Wat, then a trip through the countryside, a guided tour around a local market and then onto Kompong Kleang (a non touristy floating village way out of town, where he came with us on the boat and acted as a guide), finally back to Angkor Wat temple complex for sunset and back to the hotel, he only charged $12!! We also used him the following day, to take us by car to Banteay Samre, the land mine museum, Banteay Srie, Khbal Spean and finally to Beng Mealea. The whole day was only $40. Now that’s about half the prices we were being quoted.
Nothing is too much trouble for him and he is always suggesting different things for you to see and do. In fact we had to explain that we didn’t want sunrise every day, as we had to sleep!
On our final day we simply asked him to take us and show us the real Cambodia. First he took us to the Artisans D’Ankgor (Ok, but a bit touristy for us) Then he took us to a small village where he used to live (where the old land mine museum used to be). It was so poor, but the children were fantastic and just wanted to play with us. From here he asked if we would like to meet his wife and children at his new house. We said that would be great. When we arrived, we spotted a brick built building, and thought that at least he had improved his housing from his old village. But he explained that this was his landlord’s house and his was next door. We were shocked. It wasn’t even a shed. It was planked walls with big gaps in them and just one room with a bare earth floor and a bed. Cooking was done on a wood fire.
He drove us again around the countryside pointing out strange foods etc and we ended up at Tonle Sap mountain for sunset (far better than anywhere in the temple complex). Again, only $8 for the whole day.
When he dropped us off, we were really sad and we gave him $10 extra for his family. He was taken aback and at first refused (most drivers would have snatched your arm off). We insisted and finally he humbly accepted it. We said our goodbyes and actually (and I don’t mind admitting this) we walked into our hotel crying. He was such a wonderful person and we felt privileged to have met him. He made our last 3 days in Siem Reap a really memorable experience.
Seila, was one of the very few drivers we met during our month long trip around Cambodia, who wasn’t just interested in getting as much from your wallet as he could. He was happy to be working and providing for his family and making sure that his guests were happy.
If you do use him, tell him you heard about him from the English couple who bought him a book, so his guests could write in it for him, saying how they enjoyed his trips.
His email address is email@example.com and his website is www.blinkquick.com/tuktuk. His phone number is 092 270 927.
I hope the above information is of use to some people and that you get to enjoy Siem Reap as much as we did.